HAWKS WOMEN'S SOCCER SETTING HIGH STANDARD

HAWKS WOMEN'S SOCCER SETTING HIGH STANDARD

A look at the statistics reveals that the Los Positas women’s soccer team is enjoying an exceptional season under head coach Paul Sapsford.
 
But the Hawks, who entered the week with 45 goals in 15 games and riding a nine-game winning streak, can’t be fully appreciated through a compilation of numbers. The skillful team, led by captains Jennifer Parker, Rhiannon Adams, Alaina Medellin and Camila Fonseca, has a strong bond and a steely-eyed resolve which shows in the close games.
 
Medellin, an attacking midfielder, says the Hawks players “all have a desire to win. We’re all really competitive.”
 
Everyone raves of the team chemistry.
 
“I went out of my way in recruiting to really examine character. I tried to bring in good people, and I think that the team has gelled," Sapsford said.
 
The facts bear the coach out. Las Positas (12-1-2, 8-0-0 Coast-North) is running away with the conference championship, and the Hawks recently turned their showdown with CCSF into a 4-0 blowout win. Paola Samaniego, who has a team-high 12 goals, had a hat trick, and Fonseca, who ranks near the top in the state in assists, had four assists. In a tense 2-1 win over Evergreen Valley on Oct.. 27, Adams scored to break a 1-1 tie in the 80th minute off a Meghan Giamona assist.
 
Las Positas also knocked off powerful Canada 3-1 this season.
 
Unity, skill, and camaraderie are proving tough to beat.
 
“We do some team bonding together and that really helps on the field,” said Parker, an Aragon High-San Mateo graduate. “Individually we’re all very skilled. When we put that together it all combines really nicely, and it just looks good on the field.”
 
Parker, who is ranked No. 2 in the state among goalkeepers with a .922 save percentage, describes the Hawks as being “like sisters” on and off the field. 
She dishes off the credit for her strong statistics.
 
“Very exciting, but I can’t put that all on me,” she says.. “My team has really helped me with that. My defense has been solid, and I don’t think I could have done that without them.”
 
The Hawks have a special playmaker in Fonseca, a former Mt. Eden High-Hayward star who is headed to Sacramento State. A fan of famed FC Barcelona and its superstar Messi, Fonseca brings artistry and a ‘wow factor’ to the Hawks.
 
Where does her skillset come from?
 
“I feel like after all the years of playing it just kind of comes natural,” Fonseca says modestly. “Getting used to the players, it’s like you just see it and you just give that pass.”
 
Sapsford raves of Fonseca’s play.
 
“The way she moves, turns, her decisions on the ball and her vision on the ball: she sees things,” Sapsford said of Fonseca. “You look at her and you think, ‘Wow!’ I was fortunate enough to coach at Stanford for a period of time, and I told her, ‘You’re the best female player I’ve ever coached.’”
 
Fonseca’s soccer gifts are “not coachable," her coach assures.
 
“Cam definitely has a gift on the field,” Parker said. “She’s very skilled. She’s able to look and see her options very well, and when she sees something she’s able to put that ball (on target).”
 
“She’s really talented,” Medellin added of Fonseca. “She plays perfect balls. She knows when to take people on. She knows when to cross it at the right time. Her timing is really good.”
 
But soccer is not just about the attack. The Hawks have impressive balance in the back too.
 
Parker works closest on defense with center backs Adams and Leilani Sierra, left back Mackenzie Bammer and right back Natalie Contreras. Communication is key and moving as a unit is key in the back, she says.
 
WEST COAST INFLUENCE: The Hawks benefit from an influx of players from the powerful West Coast Soccer program headed by Troy Dayak. Sapsford is on the West Coast staff. The team's West Coast players are Samaniego, Fonseca, Giamona and Taylor Petersen.
 
Fonseca credits West Coast with building her up as a player and person.
 
“It kind of helped me even with college because I’m not from here, I’m from Hayward, so soccer wasn’t really big out there as it is right here,” Fonseca says. “So getting recruited from college made me step up more.”
 
--- Matt Schwab